At this week’s joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the State budget, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio sharply criticized the Office of Children and Family Services and Commissioner Gladys Carrion for mismanagement and wasting taxpayer dollars.

At this week’s joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the State budget, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio sharply criticized the Office of Children and Family Services and Commissioner Gladys Carrion for mismanagement and wasting taxpayer dollars.

Nozzolio was especially critical of Commissioner Carrion’s decision to require OCFS counselors to reward juveniles serving time in OCFS facilities who have committed serious and violent crimes with a number of taxpayer-financed parties and other perks.

As a result of Senator Nozzolio’s questioning, Commissioner Carrion admitted that the most violent youth offenders, even those incarcerated for serious sexual assault and other violent crimes, have been allowed to participate in parties and other taxpayer sponsored social events, such as "prom nights," based solely on their current behavior at the OCFS facilities without any consideration for the severity of their crimes.

The Commissioner also admitted in her testimony that her office authorized the transport of individuals at great distances from outside the OCFS facilities, fully at taxpayers’ expense, to serve as "dates" for these juveniles.

An investigation by the New York State Commission of Correction was conducted last year in response to one such incident where sexual acts were committed at a “social” for prisoners at the Goshen Secure Center, which girls as young as 15 were brought in to attend.

When pressed for an explanation, Commissioner Carrion incredibly defended the use of taxpayer dollars for “prom nights” as a way to reward the juveniles currently serving time in OCFS facilities in New York State.

Senator Nozzolio has repeatedly called for the removal of Commissioner Carrion for her mismanagement of the OCFS facilities under her jurisdiction and authority. Senator Nozzolio cited the fact that the number of violent incidents against staff in the State's OCFS facilities has increased even as the number of juvenile offenders in these facilities has declined. As a result, workers’ compensation claims caused by assaults and acts of violence have increased by 42 percent.